Many people assume that if you are approved for Social Security Disability benefits, you can no longer work unless you give up your benefits. However, this is not always the case. The SSA has implemented a free, voluntary “Ticket to Work” program to encourage people receiving Social Security benefits to try re-entering the workforce and pursue their career goals, while continuing to receive benefits.

Any recipient of SSDI or SSI benefits who is between the ages of 18 and 64 may participate in the Ticket to Work Program.

The first step will be to call the Ticket to Work Help Line to make sure you are eligible for the program and obtain a list of service providers. Generally, most people interested in the program will assign their ticket to an Employment Network or state Vocational Rehabilitation agency. In some cases, an Employment Network may be part of a state’s public workforce system, which will give you access to training programs, programs for young people and veterans, and other support services.

Once you have assigned your ticket, you and your service provider will come up with a plan to help you succeed in your career and gain financial independence. As you work towards your goals, Social Security will set time limits on how long you will have to reach a certain job earnings level or complete certain training and education requirements. In other words, you will be required to make timely progress towards your goals, and as time goes on, you will be less dependent on your SSDI or SSI payments.

The Ticket to Work program allows Georgia residents with disabilities to attempt working again without having to immediately lose their benefits. A disability attorney can review your case and determine whether you are a good candidate for the program.